The Strength Of Human Society
Imam W. D. Muhammad
The following article is from excerpts of an address that was delivered by Emam W.D. Muhammad to the students of the University of Chicago Laboratory High School on January 27, 1977.
With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), The Gracious, The Compassionate
As -Salaam -Alaikum
Religion is about saving the strength of human society. Long ago before there were psychologists or scientists, religious leaders were guided by God to study the nature of human development. Neither science, nor psychology, nor any of the human sciences or the physical sciences have yet come up with a better description of the human essence. In fact, they will never come up with a better description of human life, human nature, and the proper human development. The natural line of development that human growth takes was discovered long ago by men of God through God's inspiration (divine inspiration). Although it would take a great deal of time to go into details on this subject, I will quickly try to tell you what I mean.
When the Bible talks about the creation of man or the making of man (Adam), we have been led to believe that it is talking about the making of flesh because of so much symbolism in the Bible. The Bible is not talking about the making of flesh, flesh was already made. If you read the Bible carefully, even as a non-student of the Bible or even with a materialistic mind, you can see that the author is trying to say something. In all of its vague symbolism, the author of Genesis (whether it be God or a human being) is trying to say that there are two generations, two lives, or two creations. Genesis is the birth of flesh, then God says, "Let us make man." Adam was made but Adam was not flesh. Adam is human spirit or the inner person.
A Special Creation
Nature produces a class of people on this earth who are mostly under the powers or influences of the flesh, just like animals. But in time, man's mind develops, his spirit evolves higher, and he begins to realize that he is not one of the animals but that he is a special class. Religion is telling us that we are a special creation. Science also bears witness that man is a special creation. The animals are governed by instinct. We do not have to worry about them getting too far from natural nature. Human beings are free because we are not governed by instinct. We can become like any animal and we can become like some monsters that nature did not even create.
In our nature we can become like dogs, lions, tigers, rats, snails, snakes—we can take on the nature of any kind of animal. Primitive man has seen certain animals that he identifies as animals of superiority like the eagle, the snake, or the wolf; so he takes those animals as symbols of Divine Attributes. He has duplicated the nature and the behavior of those animals in his life. Then there are some disorganized people who do not take on animal natures with any scientific approach. They just take on the animal nature haphazardly, without any conscious thought at all. This type of person really becomes a shameful dog or a shameful snake.
The Best Nature
The human being is not controlled by instinct. Our minds are free to take on any nature. Religion is trying to preserve the best nature of human beings by telling us that God, the Author of nature, has designed in nature the direct and safe path of human development for human survival; health, strength in every way, peace and happiness, and even heaven right on earth in our lifetime.
Mother Is Leader
There is a great problem in the Christian religion of identifying Eve in the Genesis as a physical woman. Genesis is not talking about a physical or a biological person. It is talking about a nature that is inside of every human being that works just like the female nature works in a society. There is a male nature and a female nature in the human being. The role of the woman in the World Community of Islam in the West is certainly not the role of "Eve." Her role is to be a mother and to us mother means to be a leader over the human life when it first starts. All of us were first given to the charge of a mother.
The First Shaper
The woman is the first shaper of the human life or of the society. In the World Community of Islam in the West we emphasize the protection, the preservation, and the cultivation of the mother-role. The role of the woman in our society is fundamentally or essentially "mother." We see the mother-role as a role that women who cannot have children can share equally. A woman does not have to have a baby or she does not have to be fertile in order to be a mother. Even little girls are mothers by nature. Because that mother nature is in the woman from God, she does not have to bear physical children in order to be a mother.
The society of the West is suffering right now, not because it does not have male leadership, but because it does not have mother-leadership. One of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is, "Paradise lies at the foot of the mother." He called the women "mothers" who served the community well. That was a high title for women and you still find that title used in the church today. The women who work in service to the religious community are called "mother," not because they have physical babies but because they are fulfilling the highest nature and the most beneficial role that Almighty God has put into them. The male leaders of the society are weak, not because men are weak, but because they do not have strong mothers. Give any man a strong mother and he will be a strong man.
Man Is The Head
In our community, we do not deny women the freedom to do certain things that men do in fields of education, medicine, business, etc. Women, however, cannot be Emams (spiritual leaders of the community). There is no priest class in Islam, any qualified man from the general membership in the community can be an Emam. The very word "Emam" means "in front of," so he is the leader. We do not accept that the woman be the leader in our society. To have a woman as our leader in public life is really to put down our role as men. God has naturally made man to be the head of the women and the children in the society. We as men respect the role of women by not allowing ourselves to step back and let women share everything equally. There are some things that only men should do because it is their natural role to do those things. Islam, from its inception 1400 years ago, has been the only religion that has successfully promoted "women's lib" and at the same time saved its vital societal roots.
Man: The Physical Leader
The Emam should be a public leader, but the mother is the leader in the home. The man is not supposed to boss the woman in the house about matters that are the woman's responsibility. She is supposed to be the teacher in the home and the husband is not to interfere with her leadership as teacher over the children. He is not supposed to interfere with her decoration in the home unless the woman is putting undue burden on him. If her home decorating is causing him to work three jobs in order to keep the house decorated, that is unreasonable and I question her home leadership. But until she does something that is terribly unreasonable, the husband does not have any right to question her leadership if he accepts Islam and understands his religion.
Out in the open society, the men are dealing with things that women do not come in contact with. Because they do not have the experience to deal with certain things, men are more qualified to deal with them. On the other hand, because men do not have the experience to deal with certain things, women are more qualified to deal with those things. It is not a matter of who has the most intelligence. A woman should submit her intelligence to let her husband keep his male dignity as social disciplinarian in the society, and the man should submit his brute force to let mothers exercise their natural superiority in the role as home government supervisors. The women is nature's first teacher to human life. Fathers should not deny this right divinely given to mothers over our children.
Thank you for honoring us with your time to read these few words. Your brother in service to Allah,